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Elliot Gordon Homes

Custom or Off The Rack?

We all know that old expression: “You get what you pay for”. It is especially true when it comes to kitchen renovation and remodeling projects. Budget is typically a determining factor in any home improvement project, but investment value is also a crucial element. We often do not hesitate to pay high prices for items that will quickly lose value, like cars and television sets, while cutting corners on the truly important items in the heart of your home. Here are the pros and cons of Big Box Store Stock Cabinets vs. Custom Kitchen Design Cabinetry:

Big Box Store Stock Cabinets

Ideal for:

  • Quick renos before selling a home
  • Cottage
  • Low cost rentals


  • Price for cabinets “only” is generally cheaper than custom and availability and lead time for product is normally very quick (1-3 weeks).


  • Cabinets sold by big box stores are stock cabinets so there are more limited options for styles, colours, materials, finishes and hardware selection. Cabinets are generally constructed of the most affordable materials available to keep the retail price as low as possible. Product quality and durability are therefore sacrificed.
  • Stock cabinets generally come in 3” increments and therefore the kitchen needs to adapt to the cabinets and not the other way around. That means you are limited in the design options you have and will have to use many more fillers to make things work.
  • Some stock cabinets are purchased unassembled. Once labour is factored into your overall cost, it’s not surprising to see a final price similar to that of custom cabinetry.
  • Knowledge and know-how are often uncertain because of limited experience of part-time staff.
  • If you don’t have an appropriate vehicle to transport the cabinets, you will have to budget for additional delivery charges or other arrangements.
  • Project management is often the responsibility of the owner as he/she needs to coordinate and deal with designer, big box store, contractor, installer, trades, etc…

Custom Kitchen Design and Cabinetry


  • Custom cabinetry and design allow for complete freedom of composition with no limits. That means the design and cabinets adapt to the kitchen and space for a better fit and less fillers. With a wide range of suppliers, the range of styles, materials, colours and finishes is practically unlimited.
  • Quality and value are key in custom cabinetry.
  • Custom design companies and local cabinet manufacturers contribute to our local economy and source most of their products right here in Ontario and Quebec.
  • Custom kitchen designers and remodelers are experts in their trade and seasoned in the art of designing, planning and building functional and inspiring spaces that meet customers’ exact needs. Their workmanship and know-how are second to none. This in turn adds full value to your lifestyle and to the eventual resale of your home.
  • The coordination of the project from demolition to the finishing touches are handled with professional expertise. Because they specialize in kitchens and work with trusted trades partners


  • Lead times are generally a bit longer for custom cabinetry as the millwork and production take more time to complete. Generally, you can expect 5-8 weeks from order of cabinets to onsite delivery. What are a few extra weeks to get the kitchen of your dreams?

Source: Homeservice Club of Canada